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COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes. (photo from NPPA/AG)

PH COMELEC Starts Barangay-level Election Period

COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes. (photo from NPPA/AG)
COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes. (photo from NPPA/AG)

The Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has announced the start of election period for the barangay-level polls on October 28, triggering the activation of election laws all over the country.

COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes announced that the start will begin midnight of September 28.

Current election laws institute a nationwide gun ban during election period, which starts 30 days before the scheduled election day and ends 15 days after.

Chairman Brillantes said COMELEC will set up checkpoints across the country to ensure that the gun ban is implemented.

The gun ban has always been a major issue in Philippine politics, having been violated numerous times and resulted in election-related deaths across the board.

COMELEC, through its Resolution No. 9375, said that the gun ban exemptions applied during the May 2013 National and Local Elections will also be valid during the barangay elections this year.

Only personnel in security details and functions, and members of the police and armed forces in active duty are exempt from the gun ban.

Gun ban violators face a possible 6-year imprisonment, permanent disqualification from holding a public office, and deprivation of the right to suffrage.

The period also disallows officials to issue appointments and promotions, create new offices, raise funds through social gatherings and gambling, transfer or detail civil service employees, and suspend elected officials.

Chairman Brillantes has said early campaigning falls on a grey area, as there are no official candidates until the filing for certificates of candidacy on October 11.

He said those who do so can only be considered “epal“, roughly equivalent to shameless.

Meanwhile, a bicameral panel in Congress has approved Republic Act 9340, which will postpone the local youth elections slated to be synchronized with the barangay elections.

Elections for the Sangguinang Kabataan (SK), the elected youth council, is proposed to be between Oct. 28, 2014 and Feb. 23, 2015.

All offices for the SK will expire at the end of their current terms, and no holdover will be instituted until the next SK election.

(with reports from The Philippine Star and The Manila Bulletin)